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Home Community RP Government Updates No Filipino Casualty in Israel Air Strikes on Hamas Compounds in Gaza Strip. And Other Updates
No Filipino Casualty in Israel Air Strikes on Hamas Compounds in Gaza Strip. And Other Updates PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - RP Government Updates
Monday, 05 January 2009 15:48

S AN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said here today that there was no reported Filipino casualty in the Israeli air strikes on Hamas compounds inside the Gaza Strip on Saturday.


“Philippine Ambassador to Israel Petronila Garcia has informed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that there has been no reported casualty among the 21 Filipino families living in the Gaza Strip,” Fajardo said in a statement.

 

She added that Malacañang, together with the DFA and the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, is closely monitoring the situation in the Gaza Strip.

 

Ms. Fajardo said that approximately 31,000 Filipinos are working and living in Israel and at least 100 in the Palestinian areas.

 

“It is our duty to ensure their safety. We must fervently hope that the violence does not escalate and for the ceasefire to be restored immediately,” she said.

 

Wire service reports said Israeli warplanes launched massive air strikes on Hamas compounds in the Gaza Strip following weeks of rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian installations by Hamas militants.

 

The report said more-than 500 Palestinians were killed and thousands others wounded in the aftermath of the Israeli strikes and ground assaults on Hamas positions.

 

* * * * *

 

PGMA Orders Evacuation of Filipinos in Gaza Strip 

 

W orried over the safety of Filipinos in Gaza Strip, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the immediate evacuation of Filipinos willing to leave the war-torn Hamas stronghold that has been under massive Israeli attack over the last nine days.

 

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan this afternoon that the President has directed all concerned government agencies, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to ensure that the Filipinos are kept out of harm’s way.

 

Reports said there are 21 families living in Gaza Strip, many of them married to Palestinians.

 

Dureza said 66 Filipinos are already on their way to safety in Amman, Jordan. From there, the evacuees will be repatriated to the Philippines.

 

Israeli authorities are allowing Filipinos to leave Gaza Strip and cross the Palestinian border into Jordan, but not their Palestinian husbands.

 

The situation in Gaza, a narrow strip of land wedged between Israel and Egypt along the Mediterranean Sea, took a dramatic turn for the worse when Israel mounted a ground invasion of the Hamas territory Saturday.

 

Gaza Strip is a mere 40 kilometers and 10 kilometers wide, with a population of about 1.5 million.

 

Israel said it launched the attack on Gaza Strip starting with sustained air strikes in retaliation for continuing Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli territory over the last two years. 

 

* * * * *

 

PGMA orders concerned gov't agencies to prepare for resumption of peace talks

 

M ANSION HOUSE, Baguio City – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today ordered concerned agencies to prepare for the resumption of the stalled Mindanao peace process to end once and for all the hostilities in the region.

 

At the same time, she reminded the National Security Council (NSC) of her directive on ending the communist insurgency by 2010.

 

The President convened here today the NSC to discuss national security issues, principally the new flare-up of hostilities in Mindanao and the government’s anti-insurgency campaign.

 

Briefing newsmen, NSC Deputy Director-General Avelino Razon said the security meeting, which lasted for almost two-hour, centered on the National Peace and Order Council (NPOC) Report on the peace and order situation in the country and how the government was orchestrating the various efforts of all stakeholders in the attainment of peace, order and development in the countryside.

 

The NSC presentation also contained several recommendations to amend Executive Order 739, particularly the expansion and rationalization of the NPOC membership to include six line departments to ensure a more effective implementation of peace and order initiatives, Razon said.

 

He said the President was amenable to all the NSC’s recommendations.

 

The six line departments proposed to be included in the NPOC are the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

 

The additional members shall assist the NPOC in the attainment of peace, order and development “to be able to realize the President’s role of ending insurgency by 2010,” Razon said.

 

Present at the closed-door meeting were National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Razon, Undersecretary Antonio Santos of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Undersecretary Pedro Ramboanga of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

 

Razon said the Chief Executive called the meeting “principally to address the internal security operations program that the President mandated to end insurgency by 2010.”

 

Razon, a former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the guerilla fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) are down to 87 as of 2007, and that the government is targeting the dismantling of 40 fronts this year.

 

“By June 2010, we shall have reduced to less than 10 the guerilla fronts of the CPP-NPA,” he said.

 

“Basically, the strategy is to increase combat operations complemented by police action, local development, strategic information campaign and to highlight the gains in peace and order,” he added.

 

The No. 2 NSC official said the meeting “principally discussed the CPP problem whose leadership is now in disarray.” He explained that the government is open to the resumption of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF).

 

The President also ordered that “hostilities be stopped and the resumption of peace negotiations be started” in Mindanao, Razon said.

 

He added that the President is optimistic that the government’s peace and order efforts will soon “come to fruition.”

 

* * * * *

 

Gov’t set to step up efforts to end communist insurgency

 

B AGUIO CITY – Expect the government to step up next year its campaign to crush the 40-year-old communist insurgency by 2010.

 

National Security Council (NSC) Deputy Director-General Avelino Razon Jr. told members of the media here that ending the communist rebellion and the resumption of the Mindanao peace talks were the core topics discussed during the Cabinet security group meeting convened by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Mansion House yesterday (Friday, Dec. 26).

 

Several recommendations were presented by the NSC in its report to the President on the steps that need to be taken to strengthen the government’s anti-insurgency program through the National Peace and Order Council (NPOC).

 

Razon said one of the NSC’s recommendations to strengthen the Council was to include six line departments in the NPOC roster to expand its reach and base of operation.

 

As proposed by the NSC, the six new NPOC members are the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health(DOH), Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

 

The President was amenable to the NPOC proposals, Razon said, but the addition of the six line departments as members of the Council would require an amendment of Executive Order (EO) 739 creating the NPOC.

 

Razon retired last September as PNP chief upon reaching the compulsory retirement age of 56 for members of the military and the police, and was tapped by the President to the NSC post the following month.

 

He said that from “100-plus” in 2007, the New People’s Army (NPA) fronts are now down to 87.

 

The government is on target to further reduce the NPA fronts by 40 this year, and the rebel cadres from 5,700 to 5,200, he added.

 

The priority target areas of the anti-insurgency drive are Regions V and XI, particularly Davao and Compostela Valley, Razon said.

 

He pointed out that the anti-insurgency campaign will be “more on development as this is not just a shooting war.”

 

Razon said “we are making sure” that line departments help out in the local level to beef up the rebel-returnee and amnesty programs of the Arroyo administration.

 

During the first joint command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP held in Camp Aguinaldo last January, President Arroyo directed the country’s armed services to finally put an end to the communist insurgency by 2010.

 

 

* * * * *

 

PGMA to start 4-day Mindanao working visit Monday


O ZAMIZ CITY - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will visit Misamis Occidental to personally look into the status of government infrastructure projects in the area.


The President’s arrival here on Monday (Jan. 5) is part of her four-day visit to six provinces in Western and Northern Mindanao, namely: Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin and Bukidnon.


After her engagement in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur, where she is scheduled to visit the San Jose Parish Church, the President will fly to Bonifacio in Misamis Occidental to inspect the Salug Irrigation System project.


She is also scheduled to visit Sinicaban town to inspect the eco-tourism project at Dolphin Island and inaugurate the hatchery project at the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP).


In the afternoon, the President will inaugurate the newly-constructed Ozamiz City Public Mall/Market before visiting Tangub City, where she is scheduled to lead the awarding ceremonies for the 2008 winners of the Tangub City Christmas Festival Showcase.


On Tuesday, the President will visit the municipality of Clarin in Misamis Occidental to inaugurate the Clarin Bridge.


The President is determined to proceed with her four-day visit to Western and Northern Mindanao tomorrow morning despite the flash floods and rains in some parts of Mindanao, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said.


"Beginning Jan. 5, the President will be making different visits to look at projects and bring government, especially the central government, closer to the people on the ground,” Dureza said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan. # # #

 

Relayed to MabuhayRadio.com by

The Philippine Consulate General

3600 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 500

Los Angeles, CA 90010

Tel. (213) 639-0980/Fax (213)639-0990

Website – www.philippineconsulatela.org

 

 



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Last Updated on Monday, 05 January 2009 15:50
 

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